The Obama Administration released its review of the effectiveness of the US military effort in Afghanistan, as Krishnadev writes below. Some troops will come home, but a huge number will stay, as we reported earlier, to train Afghan troops. Will Afghan troops be ready to handle security demands by 2014? Recently, NPR's Robert Siegel discussed this with Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, who was in Afghanistan:
Bowman: But they have very serious problems. There's a high desertion rate. We were with an American army unit in Kandahar province and the captain told us, the Afghan company he patrolled with lost 80 of its 120 soldiers. He said they just deserted.
It appears the answer is a highly qualified, 'maybe'.
IRELAND'S ABORTION POLICY FAULTED
The European Court of Human Rights ruled Ireland's ban on abortion threatens the lives of pregnant women who may need an abortion to save their lives. A Lithuanian woman with cancer, living in Ireland, needed to travel to Britain to terminate her pregnancy. The BBC reports Irish law allows ill women to obtain the procedure if their lives are at risk, but the woman said it wasn't 'the case in reality.'
THERE'S HEAVY GUNFIRE IN IVORY COAST
NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton is in Abidjan, where she told NPR Newscasts the winner of Ivory Coast's disupted presidential election, Alassane Ouattra, was planning to lead a peaceful march to demand incumbent President, Laurent Gbagbo, accept his election defeat. Gbagbo has refused, claiming Ouattara stole the election, a claim refuted by the UN, the US and several foreign countries. Now the AP reports at least three people are dead in clashes with police. The capital is shut down.
BILL'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in Pyongyang, at the invitation of North Korean leaders. He's traveling privately but AP reports he expects to be 'given a message' from North Korean leaders. Richardson said previously he doesn't know who he'll meet with but hopes to help reduce tension between North and South Korea following last month's exchange of shelling that killed four South Koreans. The Korea Times asked Richardson to 'take extra care not to be exploited for the Communist country's domestic propaganda.'
ASSANGE IN COURT FOR HEARING
A British judge is weighing whether the Wikileaks founder should remain jailed while Sweden tries to extradite him for questioning in two sexual crimes. Julian Assange says he's innocent and is being hounded by Sweden. He was granted a conditional release Tuesday on bail. But the Guardian now reports British authorities decided to appeal the Assange release without asking Swedish authorities; Swedish prosecutors had nothing to do with the decision.